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Sunday 11 December 2016

Former Tesco UK executives to face fraud trial next year

James Davey

Published 21/10/2016 | 02:30

Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush
Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush

Three former senior executives of Tesco accused of fraud and false accounting at Britain's biggest retailer are to face trial next September.

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Three former senior executives of Tesco accused of fraud and false accounting at Britain's biggest retailer are to face trial next September.

Christopher Bush (50) who was managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg (49) who was UK finance director, and John Scouler (48) who was UK food commercial director, were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last month with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting.

Previously, at a brief appearance at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court lawyers for the men said their clients would plead not guilty.

At yesterday's hearing, at Southwark Crown Court in London, the trio spoke only to confirm their names. After hearing legal argument, Judge McCreath said their trial will start on September 4, 2017, though they will appear for another pre-trial hearing on May 30.

The SFO said the alleged crimes occurred between February 1 and September 23, 2014.

Tesco issued a statement to the Stock Exchange on September 22, 2014, saying that during its final preparations for a results announcement it had identified a £250m overstatement of first-half profit, mainly due to booking commercial deals with suppliers too early.

The discovery led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff including Mr Bush, Mr Rogberg and Mr Scouler, sent Tesco's shares tumbling and plunged the company into the worst crisis since Jack Cohen founded the business nearly 100 years ago.

The profit overstatement, identified three weeks after Dave Lewis took over as chief executive from the sacked Philip Clarke, was later raised to £263m.

The SFO investigation into Tesco is continuing. When the three were charged, Tesco said there had been an "extensive programme of change" at the company over the past two years. It declined to comment further. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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